This past week, colleges have been encouraging students to vote and celebrating those newly elected in Congress, but students of color at Ramapo College have been celebrating something different: Black Solidarity Week.
Black Solidarity Week has been a weeklong commemoration of unity and support within a community. The week derives from an African-American holiday founded in 1969 by Dr. Carlos E. Russell known as Black Solidarity Day or Blackout Day.
The purpose of the holiday is to show the social, political and economic consequences that would occur if African-Americans were to disappear. The day happens the Monday before Election Day, and black people try to not attend school or work and try to avoid making purchases.
These practices help to show the impact that the African-American community has on the nation’s economy.
Student leaders from organizations within the Black Student Union collaborated with the Office of Equity and Diversity to put together events to promote the uniqueness of African-Americans.
The week started off with a cleanup of the Hopper Slave Cemetery located not too far from the school’s athletic field. Faculty and students visited the cemetery Monday afternoon during a silent march and vigil, in which they threw apples into the Ramapo River to honor the deceased.
“I try to get as many administrators and faculty to come out to be supportive of the students. It’s important for the students of color and all students to know that they have the support of others on campus,” said Eddie Seavers, associate director of the Center for Student Involvement.
The week continued with events that focused on various topics that are important and popular amongst the African-American community. Wednesday was dedicated to the beauty of African-Americans, with meetings held to discuss issues such as colorism and hair.
Brothers Making a Difference held an event titled “Wavy Wednesday,” which was geared toward men. The event had contests and prize giveaways to teach others how to maintain their waves, a popular hairstyle among black men.
Later on that evening, Ebony Women for Social Change held an Apollo night where students came out to display their best talent to compete for a prize.
On Thursday, students skipped their regular gym routine to attend a dance workshop held by Students of Caribbean Ancestry to learn the moves of pop artists from Africa.
The night was closed with a relaxed game night in the Alumni Lounges where students played games such as Black Card Revoked and Spades.
“I personally enjoyed game night! I feel that us as a black community really came together and had a wonderful time,” said sophomore Tamia Anderson.
Black Solidarity Week closed with a bang Friday night at the closing banquet. The banquet, titled “Black and Boujee,” had students dress in all black in their best formal “fit.” Students of color and their allies feasted on soul food and danced the night away as they celebrated a successful week.
“In the midst of the rising racial climate here at Ramapo, Black Solidarity Week definitely served the purpose of black students showing that we are here,” said senior Devin Anthony-Johnson.